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Brad Silnutzer was tired of hearing his friends say going to stand-up comedy shows sucked. This was back in 2013, before Netflix started handing out comedy specials like your grandma hands out butterscotch candies.
“I had so many friends who had bad experiences at some of the more established, traditional comedy spots,” he says. “They didn’t feel intimate or they paid too much money or there were too many comics — they just hated live comedy.”
Silnutzer, a seasoned stand-up comedian and current producer on The Bachelor, saw an opportunity for something new. He and his two partners, Marissa Gallant and Jimmy Ambrose, created Brew HaHa — an experience in Brad’s backyard that was one part comedy show and one part drinking game.
“I wanted to create a show that would make someone say ‘I would be cooler if I brought my friends here next time,'” he says.
He hung up some string lights, got some fold-up chairs, created a little makeshift stage, ordered some barrels to fill up with hundreds of beer cans, and called upon his favorite comics to perform their sets while getting tipsy. Within a few months, people were lining up down the block, some for as much as three hours, just to score a seat at the underground east side comedy show known for strong lineups and free beer.
If you want to see the coolest up and coming comics on the scene in an intimate setting, skip the bigger comedy clubs and check out his backyard, underground show. Here are all the details you need to know:
Brew HaHa changes up venues often, so you’ll want to keep updated via Facebook on location. Sometimes it’s at a modest house in a residential neighborhood that looks like something your friend Kyle might rent — not a comedy venue where Nick Kroll might drop in to try out some new material. And every once in a while, they’ll do a show at a proper venue, mainly on the east side of LA or downtown (lately, it’s been in the back of a barbershop, which is very on brand). They’re good at keeping people up to date on the venue through the Facebook page.
I always recommend Lyft/Uber/Rideshare, since parking on the east side of LA can be a huge bummer. Also, it’s a drinking game so… you’re gonna get drunk.
Brew HaHa started off free and tries to stay free as much as they can. When they leave the backyard to perform at a venue, they’ll sometimes charge a small fee (usually $5 but never more than $15).
What To Expect:
As an audience member, this show is totally unlike a mainstream club experience. It starts with the host establishing the game rules while the comics are inside, out of hearing range. Whenever a comic says the agreed upon buzzword during their set (that he or she doesn’t know), a stage light illuminates and it’s time to drink up — comedian included.
It’s also packed to the gills. So good luck getting out of there if you’re sitting in the front row. But even though everyone is practically on top of each other, the audience is so joyful; you get the sense people have been waiting all month for this.
“We’ve even had people get married that met at our show,” Silnutzer says.
Don’t be noisy. We know it’s your bachelorette party, Susan, but stand up is not a television show; the comics can hear you when you’re two feet away screaming “one penis forever!” to your sorority sisters.
Don’t heckle the comics. Don’t do it. These people are professionals: they can and will emotionally destroy you if you fuck up a bit they’ve been working on for two years because you didn’t get enough attention as a child. I know it’s fun to participate, but so is laughing! Do you want to laugh? Great! Then listen up and keep it zipped.
Drink when the light illuminates. But don’t feel pressured to drink if you’re sober or just don’t feel like drinking. Pick another substance, or punch yourself in the face!
Laugh. You know those people who look up from their phones and say “that’s funny” when you make a joke instead of actually laughing? Those people suck. Laugh out loud. It’s good for you, it makes the experience more fun for everyone.
Brew HaHa always brings in a food truck parked outside of the house, so bring cash. If you’re looking for a more sit-down experience, try Masa of Echo Park located at 1800 Sunset Blvd for dope ass deep dish pizza, Sage Vegan Bistro just down the street at 1700 Sunset Blvd for some legit incredible cauliflower buffalo wings, or dive into some legendary tacos at Guisados at 1261 Sunset Blvd.
The After Party:
The party doesn’t end with the final punchline. Now that you’re properly sloshed, rowdy, and full of endorphins, stay for the after-party and mingle with the comics and other audience members. For a low key end to your night, head to Sunset Beer Company (1498 Sunset Blvd) for beer and board games, or go full steam ahead with whatever live music event is poppin’ off at the Echoplex (1154 Glendale Blvd).
However you decide to end your night, don’t forget to tell your friends about it so they can come to the next one, grab a beer, and thank you for making them cooler.